Thursday News: The stink of desperation


HOPING XENOPHOBIA WILL GIVE HIM A BOOST, HOLDING ATTACKS COLEMAN OVER "SANCTUARY CITIES": State leaders outlawed sanctuary cities in North Carolina in 2015, but that hasn’t kept the issue off the airwaves in North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District. Incumbent Republican George Holding is trying to fend off a challenge from Democrat Linda Coleman in the district, which spans several counties around Raleigh. Holding recently released video and radio ads claiming Coleman supports sanctuary cities, with an example of how he maintains they hurt the community. Holding’s ad tells the story of Udiel Aguilar-Castellanos, though it does not mention his name. The video ad says “an illegal immigrant sexually assaulted a child in Carrboro. ICE wanted to deport him, but Orange County released him — like a sanctuary city. Linda Coleman supports sanctuary cities. George Holding opposes sanctuary cities that protect criminals.”

DALLAS WOODHOUSE DOES E-MAIL BLAST ABOUT CANDIDATE'S CRIMINAL RECORD: A candidate for the North Carolina Supreme Court pleaded guilty more than nine years ago to trespassing and driving while impaired. The Charlotte Observer reports Republican Chris Anglin was stopped by police in Greensboro in January 2009 and charged after he registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.14, nearly twice the legal limit. The following September, he pleaded guilty. Anglin criticized N.C. Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse for emailing Anglin's arrest records to a listserv the GOP maintains. Anglin has feuded with the GOP since he switched party affiliation and entered the Supreme Court race. Woodhouse has previously said Anglin "will be treated like the enemy he is," and Anglin said the GOP is acting desperate "by sending something out that occurred almost a decade ago."

NC'S ACT SCORES REFLECT SUB-PAR PERFORMANCE BY STUDENTS: New results released Wednesday from the Class of 2018 show that North Carolina’s average score remained at 19.1 out of a possible 36. The state was below the national average of 20.8 and tied for 46th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. One reason for North Carolina’s low national ranking is that it’s one of only 17 states that requires all its high school students to take the ACT. Scores are much higher in states where the standardized exam is not mandatory and might only be taken by students who intend to go to college. But even among the 17 states where everyone is taking the ACT, only Mississippi, South Carolina and Nevada have a lower score. North Carolina is tied with Alabama. North Carolina is also ahead of Hawaii, where 89 percent of students took the ACT. North Carolina trails behind other Southern states such as Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana that also require 100 percent of students to take the exam.

AFTER SUCCESSFULLY WARPING SUPREME COURT, DON MCGAHN EXITS STAGE LEFT: A White House official confirms that Wednesday was McGahn’s last day as White House counsel. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters. President Donald Trump announced in August that McGahn would leave after the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. McGahn is a top election lawyer who served as general counsel in Trump’s election campaign. He played a pivotal role in the president’s remaking of the federal judiciary with young, conservative judges, like Kavanaugh. He was also the main point of contact inside the White House for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, Trump said Washington lawyer Pat Cipollone would replace McGahn.

SLAIN SAUDI JOURNALIST'S FINAL OP-ED PROPHETIC: The Post published the column Wednesday, more than two weeks after Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and only hours after a gruesome account in Turkey's Yeni Safak newspaper alleged that Saudi officials cut off Khashoggi's fingers and then decapitated him inside the consulate while his fiancee waited outside. In the op-ed, titled "Jamal Khashoggi: What the Arab world needs most is free expression," Khashoggi recounted the imprisonment of a prominent writer who spoke against the Saudi establishment, and cited an incident in which the Egyptian government seized control of a newspaper. "These actions no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community. Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation quickly followed by silence," he wrote. "As a result, Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate," Khashoggi wrote.